Bruce and I are looking at barn plans. Barn may be a misnomer as this will be a combo workshop, food preservation center and storage area for bee keeping supplies more than a home for animals and hay. The cider room will be separate from the barn. Not to say we won’t put the chicken coop and a stall for a feeder calf in, just that these thing are secondary to our increasing need for space.

My kitchen is large but not large enough for a dehydrator, water bath canner, pressure canner, large stock pots, not to mention wine making equipment and all of the smaller stuff like grain grinders, squeezo, apple peelers and the list goes on. I would also use some of the space for long- term food storage. My goal is to have a place I can work and also give classes in. Ideally, I could also rent it out to people who want to preserve food but have no space or equipment. I think if I barter rather accept money I may be able to circumnavigate some the rules about commercial kitchens. The insurance is my big problem. I need to be sure my home is not at risk if someone uses my space and equipment and then gets sick from the food. If the problem is too big then I’ll have to deep-six the business part of the plan and just give classes.

Bruce needs a workshop as he is getting into woodworking in a big way. He also needs some dedicated space for all of the beekeeping equipment and a place to process honey and work with wax. We have too sheds but they are overflowing with tools and such. It’s amazing how much stuff accumulates when one is growing food.

My house will be so much easier to manage with all of the big stuff  out-of-the-way. I keep most of it in the basement which means I have to wash it before each use not to mention that carting it up and down the stairs is a drag. I love the idea that I can “go to work” in a way by walking to the barn.

 We are still working out things like septic and water. I can’t afford a new septic system so I’ll need some kind of composting toilet and a grey water system. Heat is question too. We are leaning towards a wood system with a stupendous amount of insulation even though it means remembering to fire up the stove when we want to work. I won’t be using my space in the dead of winter much anyway. I have my eye on a wood cookstove that is perfect.

I swear we are having as much fun designing this space as we’ll have using it.

We got 7 gallons of cider pressed last night. It was downright balmy. We actually worked in tee shirts. Bruce’s sister stopped by on her way home to Boston and found us knee-deep in apples. She was laughing at us but I think she was impressed too. As usual, I got the comment about where she plans to come to sit out the apocalypse. I feel like the apocalypse has happened for a lot of people. I watched a segment on 60 Minutes about the long-term unemployed. How different would life have been for those if they had a small piece of paid for property and a way to grow some food? What if they had been able to rent out a room for some extra cash and had a community to rally around? I do not mean to criticise. They had no way of knowing how things were going to turn out but that’s the point, isn’t it? We never know. Having to depend on someone else’s preparations isn’t really a plan. Knowing how to make do is.